Boy, the Eagles are sure in it now.
No less of a personage than Jesse Jackson has hopped on the Terrell Owens bandwagon, saying that it's wrong for Owens to be suspended for the next four games and deactivated for the rest of the season.
I think Jackson is right, and the Eagles have only themselves to blame for this (as they prepare to play in "the national spotlight" against the team that thoroughly waxed them a few weeks ago). Jackson states the types of wrongs that a player could commit to justify the Eagles' treatment of Owens, and that sounds pretty logical to me also.
However, the Eagles can't turn back now on this. What will probably happen, though, is that everybody will "huddle up" and work out a deal where Owens gets paid to look for a new team and entertain the offers that surely will come his way.
At least, I HOPE that is what happens so they can put this sorry saga behind them as soon as possible. Owens can't return to the team, or else the Eagles would hopelessly lose face (after all, we're talking about a bunch of "ultra type A" guys here who see no middle ground anywhere to begin with). If somehow the Eagles refuse to pay and Owens pursues litigation to get paid and dresses it up as some kind of a civil rights violation or something like that (trivializing the true purpose of those kinds of laws, of course), it would be a bigger sideshow than anything that has transpired so far. Worse, if Owens pursues litigation and WINS, it will be just about IMPOSSIBLE for any team to discipline any player on related grounds as those the Eagles chose to discipline Owens. Such a precedent could probably also be used for other employees who felt they were wronged by their employers in other industries.
All of that being said, though, I should note something that I think is curious.
Today's CNN Quick Vote question (which I've used as a barometer on other stories, maybe more than I should) asks if you agree with Jesse Jackson on this, and 90 percent of those polled said no.
You know, I work with guys who have a lot of background in the financial services industry, and I've heard some dialogue like, "Man, can you believe Owens? He's hurting his marketability at the peak of his career. I read somewhere that he could be turning down about 30 mil in endorsements because of this." Some of these people are great in addition to being highly proficient in their jobs. Some of them, though, to quote Oscar Wilde, know "the price of everything and the value of nothing."
I think this is what the majority of the sports fans I come across are focusing on (that and the personality B.S. stuff - "he said, he said" if you will, between Owens and Andy Reid).
NASCAR drivers beat each other up and maybe they're fined a few Gs and suspended for a race or two (or penalized in overall points or something...I freely admit I don't follow that much). Bill Romanowski (onetime of the Eagles) commits assault on a teammate and doesn't receive ANYWHERE NEAR the amount of public vilification as Owens. Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks almost kills Steve Moore of the Colorado Rockies last year and gets the same treatment (in the States, anyway).
You know where I'm going with this, don't you?
Let me just respectfully suggest that we look at the overall circumstances of Owens situation and make sure that we can say, with total certainty, that that four-letter word that begins with "R" doesn't enter into the equation.
(I keep trying to finish up with this and return to beating up on Dubya, but this story just doesn't seem to want to go away...)
Update 11/23: OK, the Eagles won on this one. I'll give them credit where it's due.